Normally, we pay notice over here to the players who shoot worse than anyone from the free throw line. This time, it’s about the guys who can’t stop from getting fouled and going to the line. Dwight Howard, not too surprisingly, belongs in both categories, along with better shooters like Kevin Durant, James Harden and DeMarcus Cousins.
Cousins might not be playing for the best team in the league (or even remotely close) but it’s impossible to ignore the strides he’s making as an individual. He’s averaging 23.3 points per game this season while shooting a career high 49.4% from the line. He gets to the line more than anyone else in the league (during the time this chart was made, January 10) and hits them at a reasonable 71.8%, which is slightly below what he did last season.
Dwight Howard also gets to the line quite often. It’s not only because he’s hard to stop, but because teams are making it their plan to hack him and send him to the free throw line. Even though he has shown improvement when comparing his previous two seasons (below .500), it’s still only 53.7%, which means he is wasting more than four points a game on the line.
Beyond the two centers are usual suspects: Kevin Durant, who is quite close to being a 50-40-90 guy; James Harden, Howard’s teammate with the Rockets, who is the best guard in the league in drawing fouls thanks to his upper body strength and great ability to keep hands off the ball as he makes his way into the paint, followed by Kevin Love (who you’d expect to shoot a bit better than the low 80’s he’s in, Blake Griffin who has finally improved to around 70% after years of being terrible and LeBron James, who began the season shooting around 80% but has barely scratched the 70% since then.
What’s interesting to see through this list is teams with two players in the top 25: The Rockets with Howard and Harden are 4th in the NBA in offensive efficiency; the Timberwolves are 5th; the Clippers are 7th; the Pelicans are 8th and the Suns are 10th. Having two guys who easily get themselves to the line makes for an efficient half court offense most of the time, even on teams that don’t play the smartest brand of basketball.